By now I’m sure you know the correlation between the NFL and the National Anthem. For those who somehow don’t, here’s your Drunk White Kid cliff notes version. Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the Anthem at the start of 49ers games to protest police violence/institutional racism etc. Eventually, the movement spread, and by the end of last season every team had atleast one player protesting the Anthem via kneel. Like everything in this country, it split us completely in two and both sides started yelling at eachother like how the South Park residents argue
Starting this season, players will be penalized if they decide to kneel during the Anthem. One side claims players have the right to express themselves, while the other side calls their actions disrespectful to our country. So what do I think? I think players should have to stand during The Anthem, and here’s my attempt at a rational explanation why.
The main argument of the pro-kneeling side seems to be a lot of not understanding what The First Amendment actually entails, so I’ll start there. The First Amendment, in the simplest way a Drunk White Kid like myself can explain, means you can express yourself however the fuck you want and the GOVERNMENT can’t interfere. The NFL is a privately run organization, not a government body. Private companies can, relatively, set whatever regulations they want for how they conduct their own business. See the difference there? If they want employees to dress a certain way, they have to dress a certain way. Similarly, if they want employees to conduct themselves a certain way while at work, employees have to abide by that. For football players, that means that during games the NFL has the authority to control player behavior. Don’t follow the rules that your employer established? Expect some form of punishment. You can disagree, but its pretty simple honestly.
Here’s a similar example that happened to me at my last job that admittedly pissed me off, so I can see where the other side is coming from to a certain degree. I got in trouble at work one day because my facial hair was too long. In my jobs employee handbook, it was clearly stated you aren’t supposed to have your facial hair anything past stubble. Given that I worked with food, it made sense, and I was aware of the policy but did it anyway. My manager told me I would either have to shave or get sent home for the day. Even though I thought it was unfair, I ultimately decided making money and not biting the hand that feeds me was an easier solution, so I went to CVS and bought a razor.
Some of you probably read that example and think I’m saying facial hair and racism are equivalent, which I’m not at all. My point was that employers have control over employees, that’s kinda how a business works. I wasn’t actually silenced on the issue, my employer just made it clear how they wanted me to act while at work. I was still free to have a beard when I wasn’t at work. I was still free to disagree with the policy outside of work. Hell, I could’ve organized a rally and protested about it, so long is I do it on my time. Now do you see the correlation.
To sum up my argument: The NFL doesn’t care if players protest, what they care about is money. They noticed that players kneeling made ratings drop because of the protests. To fix this, they want all athletes to stand during The National Anthem. Players can protest all they want, they just have to respect their employer enough to do it on their own time. These athletes are millionaires with celebrity status. If they want to bring attention to societal issues, they’re still free to do that, just not while they’re at work. I hate that this is even still an issue because I don’t wanna be subjected to Chris Collinsworth’s opinion on kneeling. To be honest: Kneel or don’t kneel, I don’t give a shit. Just go out there and let me enjoy good football while I funnel beers and stuff my face every Sunday until The Pats win another Super Bowl.